Juma Bakari listened in awe as his co-worker Geoffrey Rudisha talked about his home life. He had known Rudisha for 8 years and in all that time the man had been a mystery despite them hanging out during lunch hours. But there had been a lull at work and Juma found himself chatting more with his co-worker.
Geoffrey laughed as he talked about how he’d gotten out of the house at 6:00a.m to catch the ‘workers’ company bus. As a junior manager, Geoffrey could easily board the ‘bosses’ bus that set out at 8:00a.m. but he’d discovered that getting out of the house earlier prevented his six kids from making too many demands (read, asking for cash) on him.
Thus, it came as a surprise when the man informed Juma that he and his family ate meat at each meal. Although he was a manager, he did have six children and a wife and they pay wasn’t that great. Juma knew for a fact that he himself couldn’t afford to feed his family of four meat every day and his pay was the same as his friend’s.
But one day, all became clear.
Geoffrey invited Juma to his home and then came lunch time.
Juma washed his hands in anticipation. He could already smell the meat and his taste buds were dancing. Then came the food – ugali and sukuma wiki. But still, the smell of well cooked meat persisted.
At the first bite, Juma paused and looked closely at his plate. He watched in puzzlement as he discovered very tiny brown pieces in among the vegetables. Geoffrey admitted the meat had been minced and mixed in with the vegetables. He’d resorted to buying a quarter a kilo of minced meat when his wife and kids complained they only ate vegetables. This way, Geoffrey could provide them with meat and they couldn’t complain as much without him using a lot of cash.
Next time a colleague brought up the topic of home life, Geoffrey regaled them with stories of his meat fed family. Juma laughed for a whole 5 minutes and almost fell out of his chair. Needless to say, he left a lot of people puzzled.